Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Arctic trails


There is a lot of snow here. But after all the bad weather, and the month of illness (I'm still coughing!), I finally got out for a picture walk in some of our snow covered prairie. There is a preserved area of swamp near my library that has boardwalks running through it. My wife and I were happily there a lot in the Fall, and sometimes I would also go alone before work and take pictures of its unique beauties. This is where I was this morning.

It is very different in this season.

Most of the lively wildlife- ducks, geese, turtles, and songbirds- were long gone. And in the bare plants of Winter much of the illusion of wildness was gone too. In the heavy foliage of Summer and Fall it was easy not to realize how close these trails are to the buildings and roads that ring the area. But not so in the stripped bare nakedness of Winter! Even the park buildings- a wildlife rehabilitation center and a visitor center- usually well hidden in the other seasons, were always plain to see, no matter where I stood or how far away I went.

But, and here's the good part, it was still beautiful. Golden plants bent and contorted under heavy ladles of snow. Lost woodpeckers beat their wings heavily passing through. Great fields of snow lay undisturbed. Thickets swirled roughly all around. There was an impossibly complex, tangled richness to it all, a dizzying loveliness.

Unfortunately it wasn't the kind of thing that could readily be captured in pictures. The gray fog and bleached, narrow range of colors didn't give any of my cameras any excitement, even if my eyes were pretty happy with it all.

So I did what I usually do in this situation- I fudged. And folded. I mixed it all up. I mutilated and mangled and committed copyright violations.

And here we are...

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